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Best libraries to start your semester off right this fall

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AUGUST 29, 2018

Just as all good things must come to an end, we bid our adieus to syllabus week and prepare ourselves for the challenging semester ahead. With perpetual homework assignment notifications flooding our bCourse page, the library serves as an excellent place to unleash our productivity and show our GPA who’s boss. Here are five unique libraries, ranked by crowdedness and comfort, to start your semester off on a studious note.

Moffitt Library


Crowdedness: 5/5

During the day, Moffitt seems to be packed in every nook and cranny with students hitting the library for study breaks in between classes or cramming for their never-ending midterms. Check out the lower levels to dodge the crowd.

Comfort: 5/5

With sofas, independent study pods and a wellness room, a library couldn’t possibly get any more comfortable. If you’re running on a lack of sleep or your brain feels drained, take a moment to doze off to a lullaby inside one of the nap pods located on the fifth floor.

Wow factor: The fourth floor, where noisiness is permitted, is perfect for studying with friends. The fifth floor is great for independent work when you want to learn in complete silence. Free Speech Movement Café nearby offers tons of drink and snack options to fuel you through your studies. Moffitt has almost any essential or studying preference your heart desires, which makes it easy to see why so many students plant themselves in their seats and refuse to leave.

Main Stacks

Image of the descending staircases of Main Stacks at UC Berkeley.

Crowdedness: 4/5

Since Main Stacks is connected to Moffitt, it’s intrinsic for UC Berkeley students to check every floor for available seating. This makes it much more difficult to find a space to study. Since studying underground isn’t everyone’s optimal choice, you’re bound to have slightly better luck (translation: there might be one or two empty spots).

Comfort: 1/5

Plummeting down the rabbit hole of Main Stacks’ spiral staircase, you’ll find yourself standing inside the underground library. Without a trace of the outside world or any source of outdoor light, Main Stacks isn’t the most spectacular sight on campus. The poor Wi-Fi connection is especially bothersome when you’re trying to type out verbose paragraphs that fail to properly save.

Wow factor: Despite being mocked for its dreariness, Main Stacks holds the honor of the largest library at UC Berkeley — the rows and rows of books are endless. Good luck finding your classmates among the maze of towering bookcases.

Doe Memorial Library


Crowdedness: 4/5

Doe is easily accessible to all students and visitors because you don’t need a UC Berkeley ID to enter. This means that it can get pretty crowded on any given school day. However, this also means you don’t have to rummage through your bag for five minutes to search for your student ID every time you want to study.

Comfort: 2/5

Wooden chairs and marble interior don’t make for the coziest combo. Luckily, there are cushioned sofas available in the Morrison Library reading room. These are a lifesaver when the hard furniture becomes unbearable to those who are already several hours deep into their study mode and show no signs of leaving anytime soon.

Wow factor: Doe Library is adorned with historic beauty with its different feature exhibitions. The vaulted ceilings and abundance of natural lighting make it feel as though you’re studying amid a work of art.

Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library

Lianne Frick/Staff


The Music Library has three floors to pick from, which means that space is slightly more limited. However, it is situated on the eastern part of campus, close to the UC Berkeley School of Law. This is a deterrent for those who don’t want to walk out of their way and a huge blessing to those in search of a secret study sanctuary.

Comfort: 3/5

While it may not be as big as the other libraries on campus, the Music library is a real gem. It offers lots of sunlight and natural light as you read. There are also lounge chairs available for those who are looking to sit back and relax with a view of the Campanile.

Wow factor: The exterior of this library is unlike any other building at UC Berkeley. The glass windows allow for the sun’s warmth to shine through without the hazard of overheating.

C.V. Starr East Asian Library

Alice Langford/Staff

Crowdedness: 3/5

Its centralized location and unparalleled charm make for a library that many students will to flock to throughout the day (especially when Moffitt, Main Stacks and Doe are at full capacity). However, the East Asian Library isn’t as inundated with students, since most freshmen haven’t caught on yet.

Comfort: 3/5

The upstairs area consists of comfy chairs for you to lounge on. These are perfect for taking a little nap when you’ve got an hour break between classes. The library is decorated with paintings for you to enjoy when you need to escape from your problem sets. Its manageable distance from the north and south sides of campus makes it a great spot to hit up for those who’ve got classes spread out all over UC Berkeley. Say goodbye to the days of arriving in section sweaty after sprinting from Dwinelle to Etcheverry.

Wow factor: The modern architecture will leave you captivated while you study. The beautiful lanterns that brighten up your studying along with the entertaining view of Memorial Glade will surely make this library your go-to destination. As you make your way to the ground floor, the ambiance becomes much dimmer as a place of silence for those serious about zoning in on upcoming exams.

UC Berkeley’s impressive 32-library count makes it the fourth-largest university library collection. While you’re still a student here, put your student ID to work and walk into one of the many world-class libraries on campus. It’ll definitely beat studying in your cramped triple room atop your bunk bed.

Contact Erika Lee at [email protected] .

AUGUST 29, 2018